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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

ALEXANDER.  VON  HUMBOLDT.                103
We have already mentioned that Alexander von
Humlboldt left Paris in the end of tlie year 1818.
Another separation had taken place in this year—an
eternal separation for this world—from his friend and
faithful travelling companion, Bonpland. The inte-
rest which this companion of Humboldt may claim
from its in the dangerous pilgrimages arid river pas-
sages of America., will excite some interest also in his
subsequent fate. Soon after his return from America
"With Humboldt, he gained the esteem and affection
of all with whom he came in contact, by his amiable
character. As the Empress Josephine was passion-
ately fond of flowers^ Napoleon appointed Bonplsaicl
superintendent of the gardens of Malmaison, where a
splendid collection of exotic plants already existed
when the empire was overthrown, he no longer lik.ee!
to remain in France, and he went to Buenos Ayres
in 1S1S3 as professor of natural history. For a long
time nothing was heard of him., until at last the in-
telligence of his misfortunes reached Europe, and
consequently Humboldt's ears* Bonpland hady, it
or clear away the dead were totally wanting, and hands had to be
made use of to dig oxit those buried under ruins, The wounded and
the saved were encamped on the shores of the G-uayra stream, where
the brattcheg of the trees were their only roof. All beds, linen, sturgi-
cal instruments, medicines, all the primary objects of human necessi-
ties, were buried "under the dtist, and for the first few days there was
«i wftnt of provisions. The water had become rare—the aqueducts
were destroyed, the springs choked. *The interment of the dead was
demanded by religious as well as by sanitary considerations ; but it
was impossible to bury so many people, and commissaries were there-
for© appointed to superintend the burning of the corpses. Among
the ruins of the houses piles were erected, and this melancholy busi-
ness lasted several days. Among universal lamentations the sur-
viving population fulfilled religious ceremonies,, by which they hoped
to assuage the wrath of Providence, Some instituted solemn pro-
cessions, singing- funeral songs. Others, seized with insanity, coar
feswed aloud in the streets. Eighteen hours after this terrible event
now shocks were felt, accompanied by subterranean, thunder. The
inhabitants of Caracas dispersed ; but, as the neighbouring villages
had suffered equally, they could only find shelter beyond the moTOir
tains, in the valleys and Savanas* Enormous pieces of rods; fell from,
the Silla, which Humboldt had ascended ; and it was maintained
that the two points of the mountain had been lowered by from
50 to SO toises.